Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

August 26, 2011

If nothing else, Goldfinches

Filed under: Birds, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, style — richditch @ 1:35 pm
Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch

Nikon  D300, Nikkor AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E(2x), ISO 400, 1/1000 second @ f/5.6, -1/3rd stop exposure compensation, Gitzo 1325 tripod with Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head and Wimberley Sidekick.

Summer is a difficult time for a nature photographer stuck in central AZ and I spend most of my time hiding from the heat. But I did try my luck at the Gilbert Water Ranch recently (August 12 and again on August 19) mostly out of cabin fever and desperation. Neither visit was a bonanza for bird photography, and I probably took more photos of non bird subjects than I did of birds.

Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch

Nikon  D300, Nikkor AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E(2x), ISO 400, 1/800 second @ f/5.6,  Gitzo 1325 tripod with Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head and Wimberley Sidekick.

But one species is fairly reliable for photo opportunities when I can locate a few – the unassuming Lesser Goldfinch. I find this smaller relative to the well known and popular American Goldfinch a lot of fun to watch and photograph. Only the breeding plumage males are easy to see when they get up high against a blue sky; otherwise they blend in with the plants they search for food. I like capturing them in a variety of positions and showing them in natural habitat where they’re colors help them blend in – pretty much the opposite of the “pop” or high impact many photographers strive to get in their photos. I appreciate an image that is more understated and lends itself to a more prolonged examination for maximum enjoyment.

Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch

Nikon  D300, Nikkor AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E(2x), ISO 400, 1/800 second @ f/5.6,  -1/3rd stop exposure compensation, Gitzo 1325 tripod with Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head and Wimberley Sidekick.

Listen for their soft “tinkling” calls, and look for them at stands of sunflowers on field edges. They usually occur in small flocks. You can often get fairly close if you take your time and move slowly on approach. The tricky part is finding a position with a clear view and timing your shutter release to the feeding motion. You also need to pay attention to your exposure as it is very easy to over expose the color yellow and end up with blown highlights.

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1 Comment »

  1. Very nice goldfinch images Rich, I find these yellow birds hard to post process correctly sometimes but a lot depends on the original image capture in the field.
    Jim

    Comment by Jim — September 14, 2011 @ 12:50 pm


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